Saturday 22 October 2016

The storms cannot break me if I rule the kingdom of the mind

Published 07/12/2015 | 02:30

Illustrated by Ken Lee
Illustrated by Ken Lee

The world is, as ever, spinning. How we all cling on is beyond me. Did you ever try walking on top of a moving football when you were a kid?

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The reason I get over a hundred columns a year into this paper is mostly through fright. Deadlines concentrate the mind no end.

And so do bills.

But you get your mind to do your bidding and in the end it all gets done .

Then on come the winter storms. And our pub is leaking. The only constant in our lives is change.

The storms of the last week caused us a lot of damage. We're walking on that moving ball again.

I was talking to a man in the bar the other night and he gave me a great saying his mother had passed on to him. The good mother's advice was "your mind is your kingdom".

Think about that one for a while.

Like I say, there's always something to knock you off course and Clodagh toppled me over. It must have been terrible too for all the Clodaghs last week and the Desmonds this week ,what with the weather forecasters calling storms by the same name. Beats me why they call storms after people's names, like as if it's a great compliment.

So there's this big wind knocking out the power and keeping most of Ireland under house arrest and you, an innocent victim, could have the wrecking gale called after you.

So here's a warning to the weather men and women. Do not go calling a hurricane Billy. I don't want to be blamed for blowing away homes.

The first storm of this week was called after Barney, who is a very loveable purple dinosaur. I'd be very fond of Barney. Many is the Sunday morning when he babysat the kids on what was known as the video.

It's very bad form to go calling a hurricane after him. Or anyone else for that matter. Maybe if the judges sentenced burglars to have their name used as storm identifiers, it might act as a deterrent.

So every time a slate comes falling down off your roof, you curse the robbers and not some poor innocent misfortune like Clodagh, Desmond or Barney.

I apportion no blame at all to the Clodaghs, Desmonds and cuddly dinosaurs for the damage done to the front of our pub from the gales and the mad rain that came in straight at us from the mad Atlantic. The very same Atlantic that only a bare few weeks ago was no more frothy than a cappuccino.

There's no mountain between us and Ballybunion, so we take the hit front on in John B's. The wind-driven rain found a point of weakness in the front of the pub and the drops come dripping down from the front window. Like cauliflower water from a colander.

Seán Moriarty left his pint glass up on the window sill and the water topped it up. He said: "That's the first free pint I had in John B's since last Christmas."

There are six strategically placed pint glasses taking in the drips. The electrics have been damaged too and it looks like the cracked, cast-cement overhang will have to be replaced. Several long streaks, pumped up like varicose veins, run all over the front of the pub.

We'll need a paint job next spring.

Then the Pogues blow the sound system and exhaust smoke comes out the back.

The old Jubilee range, cast in 1932, begins to smoke too and bits of iron have fallen off. The ball cock is broken in the gents and a new timer has to be bought for the urinals or the water charges will break us. I can hardly ask the customers to hold their pee until the tourists come back and the cash register gets tap dancing again.

There's another leak coming from the flat roof into the kitchen and we lose a full barrel of beer when a valve busts independently of Clodagh, Barney and Dessie.

And an unexpected bill comes in the door.

All this together. Over the course of just two days. But do I let it bother me? Yes, I do.

And on top of it all, I'm struggling every day with the loneliness after my mother.

You keep expecting her to be there and she'd sort out half the problems while her egg was boiling. But most of all, I miss herself being herself.

So I get to thinking I had better get to rule my kingdom or there will be even more troubles visited upon us. The mind is the only kingdom we can control. We can go on border duty and leave in only the positive messages, if we so choose.

We never really did win our independence in 1916 or 1921 or whenever. There are so many rules and regulations to be followed and then the storms come and blow you away.

But these interventions cannot take away the only place you can rule with a true sense of independence and with an overall majority.

So I hear the mother's voice in my head and it's "get on with it". That was one of her sayings.

It might just be the mother's attitude of fighting off all troubles and never giving in is ingrained in me from years of rearing or it could have been some sort of spiritual message.

She always made great sense, so I take her advice. I get on with it.

Then a long fluorescent tube blows and I get a fit of laughing. What more is there to do? After all I am the sole ruler of my own lands in The Kingdom of The Mind and I am free to laugh whenever I like.

Irish Independent

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